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Pride for Our Community

On June 22, Bangor wrapped up a week-long series of Pride events including the Pride Parade. Northern Light Health had more than 50 volunteers march in the parade with the theme, “Celebrate Diversity.”Despite the many social and political changes in the last several years, individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ+) still have significantly higher rates for risk factors such as depression, anxiety, substance abuse, homelessness, and suicide. That is why each year in June, communities all over the world host celebrations of LGBTQ+ Pride to celebrate diversity. In Maine, approximately 10 communities host Pride events across the state. 

“At Northern Light Acadia Hospital, we certainly see these risk factors with our LGBTQ+ patients of all ages. Now, more than ever, is the time to celebrate diversity and demonstrate our acceptance, unconditional support, and compassion for all members of the LGBTQ+ community,” says Chris McLaughlin, LCSW, associate vice president, Northern Light Acadia Hospital Community and Pediatric Services.

On June 22, Bangor wrapped up a week-long series of Pride events including the Pride Parade. Northern Light Acadia Hospital had more than 50 volunteers from across the system march in the parade with the theme, “Celebrate Diversity.” Chris organized volunteers and believes there was something special about this year’s events, “The community response to this year’s parade was the largest Bangor has ever seen!  Northern Light Acadia Hospital was again a proud sponsor of this year’s Pride week and is thrilled to be able to partner with other Northern Light Health members to take part in this important event.” 

Northern Light Health is supporting the LGBTQ+ community in other ways too. We submitted testimony recently in support of LD 1025 which sought to prohibit state-licensed counselors, therapists, psychologists, social workers and other professionals in those fields from advertising, offering, or administering conversion therapy to individuals under the age of 18. Governor Mills signed this bill into law in May making Maine the seventeenth state to ban the practice of conversion therapy for minors. 

For information about how you or your staff can be trained on LGBTQ+ issues for all ages, contact Chris directly at csmclaughlin@northernlight.org.

We also encourage you to watch and share the Child-Adolescent Resource and Educational Series, or CARES, videos in your organization. This series highlights crucial youth mental health and wellness issues and provide adults with important, expert information that can be used to keep children and teens safe. https://northernlighthealth.org/Locations/Acadia-Hospital/About-Us/Acadia-CARES-(1)
 
Additional resources:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays: https://www.pflag.org/
The Trevor Project (a national suicide prevention hotline for LGBTQ+ youth): https://www.thetrevorproject.org
Human Rights Campaign: https://www.hrc.org/
Equality Maine: https://equalitymaine.org/
Health Equity Alliance: https://www.mainehealthequity.org/